September has been an amazing month. I continue to get stronger - not by a lot, but RR is working. The place I've noticed the most growth in my Jiu Jitsu. I mentioned this in a previous post - it's not only the strength but also the balance and mobility. My core continues to get stronger too which is great for grappling.
My first surprise this month was receiving my purple belt. I'm a little less than three years in and in many ways felt like it was pre-mature (I still have a TON to learn). My instructor assured me it was not.
The second surprise came at a BJJ tournament. Several people at my gym signed up to compete at the Tap Cancer Out Tournament so I decided to join them. I competed last year as a blue-belt and felt like I was ready this year. I wasn't expecting to get my purple belt a week before the tournament and so I considered dropping out. However I decided just to go and have fun and do my best. Tournaments are fantastic learning experiences and I'm not getting younger.
For folks who have not wrestled, it's hard to explain how physically exhausting grappling is. Last year at the tournament I've never felt so exhausted (and I've done a lot of athletic things that have pressed me to my limit). When someone is trying to choke you for six minutes, it's cause for motivation. The problem is that you're also trying to choke your opponent who is equally motivated and is using every bit of skill and strength he has to keep that from happening. After six minutes of this, usually you're both spent. If you're lucky enough to win the match, you get to do it again :-)
I was shocked when I ended up winning the first match by submission. I was exhausted by the end of it. I then ended up winning the second match which was crazy. Half way through the match my opponent just ran out of energy. I felt his body give up and so I sunk a quick submission before he recovered. I couldn't believe I made it to the final to compete for first place. And even though I didn't win the final match, I actually did good. My opponent beat me on points. I ended up with a silver medal. The other highlight was he was so exhausted (and 15 years younger than me) that he couldn't take the photo on the podium immediately after the match. He was sitting over the trashcan thinking he might vomit.
So why post this here? I've put a ton of hard work into Jiu Jitsu. I love it. RR has made my game better. It's also made me stronger and I think healthier. I'm a believer :-)